Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Going After Lou Dobbs

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, February 16 2010

Credit: Chong + Koster

Writing in Politics Magazine, Josh Koster and Tyler Davis describe the microtargeted ad campaign they helped run against Lou Dobbs:

We needed to gain and keep the press’ attention, so we deployed digital paid media to target media employees specifically. The Facebook feature “workplace targeting” was our primary weapon. We targeted all CNN/AOL-Time Warner employees with 500 points per day (the Facebook max). We ran dozens of different ads, testing message hooks from “Why did you let Lou Dobbs broadcast from a hate rally?” to “Why is CNN profiting off racism?” We even called out CNN’s on-air talent by name: “Hey Soledad O’Brian, why don’t you ask Lou Dobbs what it’s like to be Latino in America,” to ensure the CNN staff was sending screenshots between departments. We also workplace targeted the staff of the 25 biggest political and national news outlets in the country.

The anti-Lou Dobbs drive that culminated with him getting dropped from CNN seemed to really benefit from the fact that a considerable number of people were, in a wide-spread sort of way, getting fed up with Dobbs' increasing vehemence -- and volume -- over the last months and years of his stint at CNN. Rather than leaving folks to yell at the TV and throw pillows at Dobbs' face, the campaign gave them a vehicle for those passions.

So in addition to the nuances in online microtargeting technique that we can take away from the Dobbs episode, one other lesson to take away from this action might be that it helps to give loud voice to what people are already thinking and perhaps even grumbling about, but not really saying outloud.

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

First POST: Spoilers

How the GOP hasn't fixed its tech talent gap; the most tech-savvy elected official in America, and the most tech-savvy state-wide candidate; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Hot Spots

How Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is making inroads in China; labor protests among Uber drivers spread to more cities; new data about the prevalence of online harassment; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Reminders

Why the RNC hasn't managed to reboot how Republican campaigns use voter data; new ways of using phone banking to get out the vote; how the UK's digital director is still ahead of the e-govt curve; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Patient Zero

Monica Lewinsky emerges with a mission to fight cyber-bullying; Marc Andreessen explains his political philosophy; tech donors to MayDay PAC get pushback from Congressional incumbents; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Front Pagers

How Facebook's trending topics feed is wrecking political news; debating the FBI's need for an encrypted phone "backdoor"; democratizing crisis data; and much, much more. GO

More